Top Safety Tips for SUP

The popularity of stand-up paddleboarding has grown and grown in recent years, and you can expect to see it on the rivers, canals, lakes and seas of the UK. Having fun when doing the water sport is important, but safety should always be your number one priority.

To make sure you are having the best time on the water with our SUP boards for sale, we have put together some top tips and advice on the safety of SUP, divided into categories of the gear you need to have, the areas of SUP and elements to consider when paddling.

Safety Gear

SUP boards are not small, and when they get away from you, you can end up in trouble. Make sure you are wearing a leash, as the board is the best form of flotation you have when coming off. A quick-release leash is best for paddling on rivers and a coiled leash is great for flat water, whereas a straight leash is best for the sea.

Beginners to water sports will often find themselves in the water a lot, so a good wetsuit is hugely beneficial in helping your core body temperature. A quality wetsuit is essential for paddling in the UK.

When it comes to river SUP, a PFD or personal flotation device is an important part of your gear. A PFD acts as a buoyancy aid, making it a great piece of gear for both beginners and experts at the sport.

On rivers and canals, added protective gear of helmets, shin and kneepads can be handy, as if you fall off in shallow places, you will avoid getting cuts, scrapes and bruises or bigger injuries.

Types of SUP

There are several types of SUP; surf, river and touring are just some. When it comes to SUP surfing, you need to be aware of the other people who are on the water with you. Beginners should avoid crowded areas and getting in the way of experienced surfers.

For river and canal SUP, you need to be aware of your surroundings as underwater obstacles can be hard to spot. Avoid the riverbanks with branches or underwater plants and other vessels on the water, particularly on narrow canals that see a lot of traffic.

Touring SUPs are designed for long distances, and you need to know your limits. Anyone heading out for a day on their SUP needs to make sure they are aware of the weather conditions, have the correct gear with them and enough food and drink to last the duration of the tour.

When heading out on your SUP board, it is always good to tell someone where you are going, especially if you are going solo. However, beginners should not try water sports alone; head out with a friend or as part of a group, so if you get into difficulty someone is there to help.

Elements to Consider

Stand-up paddleboarding is an activity that looks effortless but requires a good level of skill, along with mindfulness of what is going on around you. The wind is one of the most important elements to consider, as high winds can create choppy waters that are dangerous for the inexperienced. You also need to make a note of the direction, as going against the wind is a lot harder than going downwind with the wind helping you along.

For SUP on the sea, you need to keep in mind the tides, as miscalculating the tides can leave you in a sometimes dangerous situation. Planning your time paddling around the tides means you will have a much more enjoyable experience.

The swell of waves is another thing to consider when paddling on the sea. Though it might not seem like it when the sea is looking calm, the swell of waves can take you further from shore than you notice. Bigger waves also require a lot more physical strength to navigate, so you should be prepared.

Other Top Tips

Take a friend when you go paddling; whether its SUP, canoeing or kayaking, having a friend with you means someone is there for you should something happen, and vice versa.

Bring sun cream; though Britain doesn’t get much sun compared to other places in the world where SUP is popular, even in the summer, there is still a need for sun cream! The glare from the water increases the chance of sunburn too, and a hat and sunglasses are other helpful accessories.

Don’t take risks; when you get out on a SUP board, kayak or canoe, you should know your strengths and limits, so don’t take unnecessary chances that could land you in a different situation. Find good stretches of water on the river and get used to it before moving on. If need be, take lessons.

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